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Marriage and the crisis of peasant society in Gujarat, India

Tilche, Alice and Simpson, Edward (2018) Marriage and the crisis of peasant society in Gujarat, India. Journal of Peasant Studies. ISSN 0306-6150

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Identification Number: 10.1080/03066150.2018.1477759

Abstract

This article takes marriage as the example of a crisis of production and reproduction in rural India: of a great transformation of values away from agriculture towards a culture of migration, and of a more uncertain transformation of the agrarian economy. Through the juxtaposition of ethnography separated by six decades, we detail a shift away from land and agriculture as the primary markers of status among the Patidars of central Gujarat, western India. In the 1950s, land and agricultural know-how were central to the ways in which the Patidars thought about each other’s worth and status. In 2013, the relationship between land and social status had dramatically weakened to be replaced by a hierarchical understanding of international migration. Patidars owned land and, unlike in other parts of rural India, agriculture continued to be economically remunerative. However, farmers were considered culturally and morally impoverished. We discuss the disconnect between a cultural revolution in favour of migration, and the failure of many to live up to their own cultural standards. It shows how migration, and the failure to migrate have had dramatic consequences for social reproduction, exacerbating and, to an extent creating, the new problem of bachelorhood among young farmers. As a consequence, practices of downward mobility had become crucial to the reproduction of the group, while also posing a threat to its very identity. The article more broadly reflects on the simultaneous forces that strengthen and dissolve caste inequality in the context of India’s uneven growth.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/fjps20/current
Additional Information: © 2018 the Author(s)
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Sets: Departments > Anthropology
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2018 09:36
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 01:40
Projects: ES/I02123X/1
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/88234

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